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Villaraigosa's 'New Contract' Focuses on Education but What About the State of Broke L.A.?

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Mayor Viilaraigosa made education reform a focal point of his annual State of the City address Wednesday evening. In an address at Thomas Jefferson High titled "A New Contract," Villaraigosa called for renewed teachers' contract in a battle to recover from losses in state funding that have led to the layoffs of thousands of LAUSD teachers. But this approach did not fall lightly on the ears of many civic leaders, many of whom are concerned that the state of the city is in a deepening financial crisis.

"The mayor needs to direct his attention at what is essential, and that's the elected position of running the city," said Councilman Dennis Zine, according to the LA Times. "Pave the streets, fix the sidewalks, trim the trees and provide public safety without increasing taxes. That's what I would hope he would focus on."

By addressing school funding, the mayor was echoing the reaction of union leaders and a school board member to his remarks, explained the LA Times.

While some reports put California's education system at 47th in the nation, Los Angeles may need to rely on assistance from the Governor to bolster reform locally, as the city's estimated $350 million budget deficit deepens.

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It wasn't all about education, notes Streetsblog LA, with considerably more text relating to transforming the way we get around town, or as Villaraigosa would have it: "a 360-degree approach” to providing alternatives to car culture.

Will Villaraigosa act swiftly toward his proposed reforms? Or is he merely buying time?